FWP released the following hunting outlooks for northwestern Montana:
Deer – Fawn recruitment for most of northwestern Montana for white-tailed deer is good for the fourth straight year. As a result, hunters can expect to find not only more white-tailed bucks this fall, but more bucks in the 3-year old age category. Bucks this age start producing quality racks for hunters interested in putting something on the wall as well as in the freezer. Mule deer populations remain low and hunters should not expect to find the type of mule deer hunting they enjoyed a generation ago. However, slight improvements in the 2012 and 2013 harvests are a hopeful sign populations bottomed-out 3 years ago and are beginning a slow recovery. Read the full deer outlook here.
Elk – The previous mild winter should be beneficial to elk survival in northwestern Montana and contribute to elk numbers remaining stable. Elk hunters should find populations similar to what they have seen for the past several years. Spring classification surveys across the region showed continued good numbers with calf recruitment some of the best in the past four years. Elk numbers in the backcountry hunting districts of 150 and 151 should remain stable. Elk numbers in the lower Clark Fork area, the region’s best elk producer, continue to remain stable with better than average calf numbers seen during spring surveys and should provide good hunting opportunities for the 2014 season. Read the full elk outlook here.
In addition, they say that things are looking up for Montana antelope with populations continuing to recover from previous years’ winter mortality and reduced recruitment in central and eastern Montana. Read about the antelope outlook here.